Fiscal Court approves airport resolution

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

The Henry County Fiscal Court on Nov. 19 unanimously approved a resolution requesting the Oldham County Fiscal Court and Oldham County Airport Board remove from consideration a proposed airport site candidate that straddles the Henry and Oldham County line.

The court was greeted at the meeting by a fuller than normal audience, the members of which had just one thing on their minds — the proposed Oldham County Airport.

More than 40 concerned residents sat in the gallery and when asked by Judge Executive John Logan Brent how many were there to speak about just the airport, at least two-thirds raised their hands.

Before turning the floor over to the visitors, Brent read the entire text of the resolution. Afterwards, the court received a round of applause and several residents expressed their opposition and concern.

One resident asked, “how can they get away with saying they want an airport in Oldham County and put it in Henry County?”

County Attorney Virginia Harrod said ultimately, the Oldham County Airport Board would have to come before the Henry County Fiscal Court and, potentially, Henry County Circuit Court.

“Why would they even bother? Leave it in Oldham County,” the resident said.

“If it’s a question of why would they? It’s arrogance,” Harrod responded.

Harrod also responded to one question about eminent domain, saying that eminent domain always is a possibility.

“They don’t want to because they feel like they’re buying litigation,” she said of the issue.

Resident Deb Richardson also spoke to the court, half-joking that by reading the resolution, Brent had stolen her thunder.

“I came in here ready to really have at it,” she said, adding that she knew what it was like to live next to an airport. That, she said, was one of the reasons she moved to Henry County.

“Hearing the resolution makes me more than happy,” she said. “I’m glad our Fiscal Court listened to citizens before it was too late. But I don’t think it is time to sit back on our haunches ee. My opinion of Oldham County is they will do what they want when they want.”

Ed Wright, who said he grew up as a “hangar rat,” also spoke against the proposed airport.

“This is not a good thing,” he said. “Property values go down, insurance rates go up.”

Another resident said she brought signatures of residents against the proposed airport. Harrod encouraged the resident to pass the petition along.

“I would encourage a petition drive from everybody in the community to send a petition to Oldham County ee and to your representatives.

Brent and others indicated the court would send a copy of the resolution, Brent also indicated the situation was out of the county’s hands.

“We’re taking a step tonight, but it’s out of our hands until they throw the ball back.”

Smithfield Mayor Kenny Baker said his city commission would consider a similar resolution at its Dec. 3 meeting.

In other business:

• The court approved, in a split vote decided by Brent, to purchase an ATV to be used by the County Coroner for use in reaching hard to access sites. The court said the vehicle would be stored at the EMS building on South Property Road.

EMS Director Scott McClamrach said the purchase would be wise, particularly considering “we know it’s just a matter of time before we have an incident” at the Hillz N Hollarz ORV park.

Magistrate Wayne Gunnell asked Kentucky River Fire Department Chief Billy Rearden if he saw a need for a similar vehicle within the KRFD.

“If you buy one, you might as well buy six ee a central location ain’t no good,” he said.

Gunnell acknowledged that the best scenario would be for the county to purchase six, one for each fire department, but that something is better than nothing.

“I’m not against it,” Rearden said. “But I feel like this is going to be used more for EMS purposes and (Henry County Coroner) Jimmy (Pollard)’s purposes. Which, I don’t care. I don’t want nothing to do with it. I’ve got my own ee it’s got racks and everything on it. I’ve got quicker response to Hillz N Hollarz than EMS does.”

In breaking the tie vote, Brent said Pollard has been in situations recently where an ATV would have been useful, and pointed to two incidents where such a vehicle would have been beneficial.

“The two ladies (from Ohio) they didn’t find and died down by the interstate in Campbellsburg, and then there was a fellow that fell out of a deer stand last year, maybe a half mile from the road, and then the tragic accident that happened last week. Even if we never use it as an emergency vehicle, I think it’s the right thing to do for the coroner.”

•heard the first readings of the sheriff and county clerk’s budgets

•decided that the December meeting will be held at the new senior citizens center. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 18.

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